Today, March 10th, is World Kidney Day. This morning the Nephcure Foundation shared an important reminder for those of us dealing with kidney disease:

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have helped me as I have dealt with my kidney disease. I will try not to miss anyone, but I am sorry if I don’t name everyone by name. I appreciate all of the help, the love, and the prayers. In my struggles I may not always show it like I should, and of that I am sorry. Also, the ordering here is not indicative of how important I think an individual’s help has been. Without further adieau, I am grateful for all of these:

  • Ann Henson - this wonderful woman is and will forever be my second mother. Just like my own mother gave me life and love 34 years ago, nearly two years ago this wonderful woman gave me life again. When she found out that I had kidney disease and would need a transplant at some point, she was immediately willing and wanted to be the first one in line to see if she could donate. It is because of this sacrifice I am alive today. And, despite some very difficult circcumstances that have happened since, she still cares deeply and does not regret a minute what she did for me. Thank you Ann. Thank you so much.

  • Torie - You stood by my side with love, concern, and help through some of the most difficult times during this. I would have never made it through the difficulty of going through dialysis and the transplant without you by my side. I can’t imagine what you had to go through, seeing me like that, and also knowing the risk your mother was taking to help me. Thank you for doing your best, especially when circumstances were that I wasn’t the easiest to live with. I will always love you for this. (I have to also mention here the wonderful little puppy girl Callie. She was always so loving. I could just feel her love and concern and see it on her face on those days when I wasn’t doing so well or when I was recuperating from surgery. Her little kisses and snuggles meant the world to me. Daddy will always love you Callie).

  • My Parents, Bert and Sharon - You have always loved me and stood by me through the difficult times in my life. It is because of your love and determination I am alive. You have done so much for me these last few years and I will forever be grateful. I wish I could show it better. I am sorry it has been so hard for you to see me struggle through these times of my life.

  • Kevin and the rest of the Henson family - thanks for being so supportive of me, Torie, and Ann through all of this. I am forever indebted to you. I include their extended family, especially including Ann’s neice Tammy, who flew out here to be here during the transplant.

  • My brother Joe, his wife Angie, and my sister Sharalyn - You are all so awesome and have done so much for me. I love the sacrifices you have made in your lives to help me out. The trips to come see me when I couldn’t go myself. The phone calls, the texts, the loving concern. I will always look up to you all, am grateful for the successes you are finding in your lives and the examples you are for me, and still stand by me even when I’ve struggled. I love you so much.

  • The rest of my family - I am grateful for my entire family, for the concern they’ve shown and the help they’ve given me. I am especially grateful for my aunt Margie for all the help and visits and things she’s been able to do because she has lived so close.

  • My friends, especially Daniel, Paul, and Vee - I have such amazing friends, from all over the world. I got an unexpected card from my friends Andrew and Mary from Australia when I had my transplant. I’ve had countless friends reach out with love and concern, it’s so hard to name them all. I am especially grateful for my closest friends that are (or were) local to me, Daniel and Paul and Vee. They have done so much for me. Daniel has been a life saver and put up with so much. He’s kindly opened his house to me so I have a place to live through this difficult time. He’s taken me to the emergency room and the hospital many times when I could not myself. Paul and Vee did much the same when they were still living in Utah, and continue to be a great support from afar. I don’t know what I would do without these great people in my life.

  • Dr. Hammond, Mark Boyack, Jenna and the rest of the staff at Central Utah Nephrology - I have been blessed with an amazing medical team. Dr. Hammond is my nephrologist (kidney specialist) and he and his staff are constantly looking out for me and going above and beyond just to make sure I am getting better. Thank you for the everything you do to help me be healthy and happy. Whatever payment you receive from me or my insurance company doesn’t even come close to make up for what you’ve done and are doing for me.

  • Dr. Van der Werf, Dr. Alonzo, and the rest of the doctors and staff at the Intermountain Transplant Center in Murray, Utah – Dr. Van der Werf and Dr. Alozono were the surgeons who performed the transplant, with Dr. Alonzo performing the surgery on Ann, and then assisting Dr. Van der Werf with me. I am forever grateful for your knowledge, skill, and concern. I’m grateful for my transplant coordinator Barb, the financial coordinator Becky who has helped me with Medicare and other insurance issues, and everyone else at the transplant center that have been so helpful through this process.

  • The doctors, nurses, and staff at the Intermountain Medical Center, American Fork Hospital, Utah Valley Medical Center, Madison Memorial Hospital, and the Central Utah Clinic Surgical Center - when I have had to spend time in the hospital either because of surgery or problems, I have always received the best care. The doctors and nurses have shown the upmost concern and skill in caring for me. It has always been comforting to have such wonderful and caring nurses and assistants who want what’s best for me. Thank you all for the amazing people.

  • The phlebotomists and nurses at the various laboratories I’ve visited - I have had frequent labs over the years and I am always thankful for the gentleness, concern, and care shown by those that draw my blood. You may have given me a few bruises, but I’m thankful for the job you do.

  • The nurses and staff at Davita Dialysis in American Fork - I was only on dialysis for the 3 months prior to my transplant, but I got to know these wonderful people during my 9 hours a week there. It was because of your concern, positivity, and hard work that the experience was bearable. Thank you so much for all you did for me and my fellow patients.

  • The pharmacists and techs at Wal-mart - You have got to know me quite well over the last few years. Thanks for always being so cheerful and willing to help. Thanks for looking after me and bringing up concerns and suggestions about my medication and being willing to answer questions that I’ve had going through all of this. You guys are lifesavers.

  • My former employer Mozy and coworkers there - You guys were nothing but accomdating and supportive as I wen through this, were completely supportive as I started dialysis and then worked with me as I had to have time off to recover from my transplant. I don’t know how many times I ended up taking a nap and sleeping longer than I should on the Ops department bean bag when I was so exhausted because of dialysis. And yet you were always supportive and kind. Thanks so much.

  • The HR staff at my last employer Canonical - they have bent over backwards to help me so I can maintain my insurance coverage through COBRA, helping me get my payments in and such, when it was difficult because of hospital stays. Thanks for your patience and concern.

  • My ward members and leaders from church - in the 3 wards I’ve been in during this time, I’ve always had fellow ward members and leaders show great concern and do whatever they could to help me. I am so grateful for that.

There are countless other friends, family, medical professionals, and others who have constantly gone out of their way to help me. I wish I could name them all and show my gratitude to them all.

On a less personal level, there have been many things that have got me through this time, including favorite music, books, and other entertainment. In particular, we were able to meet the band Creed (my favorite band) a few months after my transplant. I mentioned to them how much their music has got me through some very rough times, including my transplant. We had front row seats, and during the the concert, Scott Stapp, the lead singer, stood in front me me, pointing, and making eye contact during one of the songs, reminding me to remember “What this life’s for.” Thank you so much.

I am forever indebted to all of these wonderful people. I’ll never quite understand the sacrifices done on my behalf. I just hope some day I can even begin to repay you all for the wonderful blessings you have brought into my life.

Happy World Kidney Day. Take care of your kidneys. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, or a family history of those or kidney disease, please see your doctor and get checked. It’s just a simple blood test.

I have on occasion cited the need for many reservoirs in our lives to provide for our needs. I have said, “Some reservoirs are to store water. Some are to store food, as we do in our family welfare program and as Joseph did in the land of Egypt during the seven years of plenty. There should also be reservoirs of knowledge to meet the future needs; reservoirs of courage to overcome the floods of fear that put uncertainty in our lives; reservoirs of physical strength to help us meet the frequent burdens of work and illness; reservoirs of goodness; reservoirs of stamina; reservoirs of faith.

“Yes, especially reservoirs of faith, so that when the world presses in upon us, we stand firm and strong; when the temptations of a decaying [and, I should add, increasingly permissive and wicked] world about us draw on our energies, sap our spiritual vitality, and seek to pull us down, we need a storage of faith that can carry youth, and later adults, over the dull, the difficult, the terrifying moments; disappointments; disillusionments; and years of adversity, want, confusion, and frustration.


There is much focus in the gospel about being self-reliant and prepared for the future. Unfortunately, I think the lesson that many of us focus on (myself included) in this is the temporal: food storage, staying out of debt, having emergency savings, and so forth. Obviously, without these basic needs, it is hard to focus on emotional and spiritual needs. But, in the intense self-examination that has taken place in my life over the past months, I have realized that not only have I neglected this basic commandment we all understand, but I have also neglected the principle underlying it President Kimball teaches.

From someone who has been through the most difficult trials life has brought me thus far (chronic illness, job losses, a great wake-up to my own weakness), it has become hard to not look back with the “Spirit of Truth” and see where I lack. There were times I needed great courage. There were times I needed great positivity. There were times I needed more love to share with others. And, most fully, there were times I needed greater faith. But, given the circumstances of my life, it felt more difficult to find these things in my life. I had not built a great reservoir of knowledge, of courage, of faith, of goodness, of all of the things I had needed during these times. When my body was ravaged with sickness, when side effects of the very medication and procedures that were keeping me alive made life difficult, when I slipped into depression because of job loss — in all of these things I needed to be added upon. But, I had not built that reservoir to draw upon in those times.

So, what can I do now? Certainly the trials of life are not over. On the days I have the strength, the time, the courage, and faith, how I can fill my reservoirs so I have that extra help in the future?

I admit to not knowing the answer; I wanted to just get this thought out there as it came to me today. I think the advice of King Benjamin (I always seem to go back to that sermon for some reason) applies:

I would that ye should remember, and always retain in remembrance, the greatness of God, and your own nothingness, and his goodness and long-suffering towards you, unworthy creatures, and humble yourselves even in the depths of humility, calling on the name of the Lord daily, and standing steadfastly in the faith of that which is to come,

Mosiah 4:11

Remember, humble yourselves in prayer, and stand steadfast in faith. Give what you can every day.

I think, rather, I hope that Heavenly Father will let me know by his Spirit when I am doing my best, and nudge me when I am doing better, and that I can build up these reservoirs of strength to weather the trials that life may bring to me. Ultimately, I have hope that I can have the blessing that Alma, the sons of Mosiah, and their fellow missionaries had:

they should suffer no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the joy of Christ.

Alma 31:38

Herbert Simon was perhaps the first person to articulate the concept of attention economics when he wrote:

“…in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it” (Simon 1971, p. 40-41).

He noted that many designers of information systems incorrectly represented their design problem as information scarcity rather than attention scarcity, and as a result they built systems that excelled at providing more and more information to people, when what was really needed were systems that excelled at filtering out unimportant or irrelevant information (Simon 1996, p. 143-144).


I like especially the portion where Mr. Simon says “a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”. This is a good description of many of my habits in using technology.

As a software developer (more precisely, a software tool developer), I’m particularly interested in his recommendation that “what was really needed were systems that excelled at filtering out unimportant or irrelevant information.” How can I better filter out information and yet take advantage of the wealth available? Good thoughts to ponder.

While many people say multitasking makes them more productive, research shows otherwise. Heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress.

And scientists are discovering that even after the multitasking ends, fractured thinking and lack of focus persist. In other words, this is also your brain off computers.

“The technology is rewiring our brains,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse and one of the world’s leading brain scientists. She and other researchers compare the lure of digital stimulation less to that of drugs and alcohol than to food and sex, which are essential but counterproductive in excess.


Though not directly a spiritual thing, I’m sharing this because I am starting to believe my interactions with technology (particularly over the last decade) have fundamentally rewired my brain and not necessarily in a good way.

In this moment of deep introspection and self-examination, I realize to become who I truly desire, I need to fundamentally alter how I use and interact with technology. Yes, I love technology. It is a fundamental part of my life and that will not change. But I think the place it plays in my life should change.

I received the following quote in an email today, gives me hope for my road ahead:

Road to Recovery

“Each one who resolves to climb that steep road to recovery must gird up for the fight of a lifetime. But a lifetime is a prize well worth the price. This challenge uniquely involves the will, and the will can prevail. Healing doesn’t come after the first dose of any medicine. So the prescription must be followed firmly, bearing in mind that it often takes as long to recover as it did to become ill. But if made consistently and persistently, correct choices can cure.”

– Russell M. Nelson M.D.